BRADENTON Sarah Taylor is a perfectionist and wasnt satisfied with the shade of aqua on the mural of the manatee.
So that meant descending the three-story scaffold to remix more paint.
I must go up and down 20 to 30 times a day, said Taylor, a 29-year-old artist.
Its a labor of love.
On Monday Taylor was amidst painting the last of three 25-foot high murals with environmental themes, an ambitious volunteer undertaking in the courtyard at G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School, the countys first green school.
I wanted to create something the school stands for and will make kids more aware of their surroundings and community, said the Salinas, Calif., native.
Principal Wendy Acosta, whose school will be dedicated Oct. 24, is delighted.
Theyre going to be the schools centerpiece, she said. Just beautiful.
The murals depict:
A bald eagle soaring past wind turbines.
A Florida panther and childs hands holding a green globe.
A manatee, hydroelectric dam spillway, and corn for ethanol.
They represent sustainability, reusable energy and endangered wildlife.
They also represent Taylors devotion.
A 2005 Ringling School of Art and Design alum, shes been working on the murals between other jobs over the past three months, weathering heat, high humidity and rain.
Its been exhausting at times, but I just stayed focused and hydrated, Taylor said. Art has been my life, but I volunteered my time because this community has given me opportunities and I appreciate it.
The ideas for the murals came from Taylor and her husband, Jason, the project architect for Fawley Bryant, which designed the school. The scaffolding and paint were donated by W.G. Mills and Sherwin-Williams, respectively.
Their proposal enthused the principal as art and as an educational tool.
Youd be surprised how keen our youngest students are on being environmental stewards, Acosta said.
They seem more concerned about it than we are.
Theyve definitely followed the artist at work, calling out as they go by.
Some say, Hi, Sarah. Or Hi, Miss Sarah, Taylor said. I can see theyve loved watching the process.
Two fifth-graders liked her art, for sure.
The panthers my favorite, Paul Wiggins said.
Quindon Washington dug the bald eagle.
I like how realistic it looks, he said.
Roy Gordon, the schools art teacher, admired Taylors talent and courage.
Its inspiring to students to see art being produced in front of them, he said.
But Id be nervous about being on the third level of that scaffold.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fl. 34206 or e-mail him at email@example.com.